Theories of the family

Different theories of the family - functionalism, New right, Marxism, Feminism and Interpretivism

  • Created by: Heidi
  • Created on: 12-04-11 13:58



Biological analogy, works as a system and looks at structural approach. Consensus theory (All functionalists)

"March of progress" - family - improved. Family = supportive etc. BUT Dark side of family --> privatised nuclear family, domestic violence.

MURDOCK 4 functions: Sexual, Social, Reproductive, Economic

PARSONS: After industrialisation --> family lost its functions. Family = 2 functions = PRIMARY SOCIALISATION and STABILISATION OF ADULT PERSONALITIES. Instrumental role and expressive role

Criticims: Outdated, Ignores dark side of the family, only focuses on nuclear family.

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New Right

New right

Range of values. Family is a cornerstone (key part of society). Concerned about decline of the family (increase in divorce etc) --> leads to widespread problems.

State = helped to develop a dependancy culture. Argue for "rolling back the state" --> not so relying on state.

CHARLES MURRAY: Described social decay, promiscuity (having several sexual relationships), illegitimacy, drug abuse.

They believe the traditional nuclear family needs to be encouraged and strengthened. MALE BREADWINNER - Needs to be reinforced.

Criticims: More concerned with cost cutting, ABBOTT AND WALLACE (Feminists) - They exploit women, it ignored unhappiness of women and ignores domestic violence. New right also end up undermining Nuclear family rather than supporting it.

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